Scams can happen to anyone at any time and awareness is our best defence against scammers.

This year’s theme for Scams Awareness Week (November 8-12) is Let’s Talk About Scams, helping us start the conversation with our friends, family, and colleagues.

The more we talk about scams the less likely we are to fall prey to scammers - and the stigma surrounding being caught out reduces, making people more likely to report cybercrime.

Startling new research reveals that 8 in 10 people have been approached by a cyber-criminal in the past two years, and of those affected a quarter did what was asked of them.

The findings – based on an Essential Research poll of 1094 people – were released today by Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA).

Cyber criminals are constantly changing the methods they use to trick people so it’s important to keep the conversations going around scams. Stay up to date with the latest scams by regularly visiting Scamwatch.

The Mutual Bank’s top five tips to avoid falling victim to a scam:

  1. If you receive a text message that contains a link, do not click on the link unless you are confident it is legitimate. Regularly install operating system updates and use anti-virus software.
  2. Never provide any of your personal or banking details to someone you don’t know and trust, and never provide banking passcodes (including authentication codes received via phone or email) to anyone.
  3. If you receive a suspicious request from someone who says they represent an organisation or government agency, call back using details you find in an independent search, rather than details they give you.
  4. Be wary of unusual payment requests. Scammers will often ask you to use an unusual payment method, including preloaded debit cards, gift cards, iTunes cards or virtual currency such as Bitcoin.
  5. Anyone who has provided their banking details to a scammer should contact their bank or financial institution immediately.